Playground Sessions Review – What And How You Will Learn

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If you are a complete beginner or wanting to take your piano playing to another level then Playground Session is for you. In this Playground Sessions review I will tell you exactly what you will get and how you will learn.

Let me tell you how and why I decided upon using Playground Sessions.

Why I chose Playgound Sessions

Having recently finished writing a book, self publishing it on Amazon and narrating it on YouTube I had no desire to write anymore. This was not because I hadn’t enjoyed the experience or wasn’t satisfied with my accomplishment but simply because I had done what I had set out to achieve.

I decided to set myself another goal and I decided upon learning to play the piano. I didn’t want to just learn to play songs as I had years earlier when learning to play the guitar. Now I had the desire to learn how to read music, gain some knowledge of music theory and play the piano to a reasonable standard.

I knew this would be a difficult task. Maybe harder now than years ago but I loved the idea and the challenge that I had set myself.

I decided upon buying a reasonably priced keyboard that had weighted keys and bought the Roland FP30. The reason for weighted keys was that I wanted it to feel and play like an acoustic piano.

I then borrowed some music books from a friend whose daughter was taking piano exams and then set out to find a music teacher. This was difficult since the hours I work overlapped with the hours worked by piano teachers.

Fortunately I had the foresight to search the internet and realised that software was now available. I was specific with the piano learning software. I wanted to play to a reasonable standard but also I really wanted to learn about music theory and be able to read music.

So when I landed on the Playground Sessions website and saw that it was possible to learn with Grammy and Emmy winner Harry Connick, Jr. I was intrigued and delighted.

It is also co-created by the music legend Quincy Jones. Yes, the all time most nominated Grammy artist.

Visit Playground Sessions

Playground Sessions offers many features:

  • Songs you know and love.

The piano software teaches you how to play your favorite songs with interactive lessons. Learning to play a familiar tune and knowing the song only helps to speed up the learning experience. Songs can be picked from the categories – Pop, Rock, Classic Hits, R&B, Traditional, and Classical genres that are arranged at Rookie, Intermediate and Advanced level.

  • Bootcamp and Courses

David Sides has amazing talent and has over 185 million views on You Tube. He has been invited to play all over the world and is now teaching on Playground Sessions. He appears to be the ordinary man but with his unique arrangements and his fun and engaging teaching style he is ideal teacher to have.

Whilst bootcamp and the supplemental courses offered on Playground are unlocked only as you progress through the bootcamp curriculum I have chosen to concentrate on completing the bootcamp before working through the courses. This is my choice simply to stay focused on one part of Playground Sessions before moving to another. It seems to work for me!

In Playground, you will discover how David breaks down songs and music into short pieces building your knowledge of music theory concepts one step at a time. With the addition of his of interactive videos tutorials and practice sessions featuring your favourite songs it has helped me to find my way around the keyboard. It is teaching me notation and rhythm and I look forward to learning how to play more by ear as I get better.

I love the step by step way that Playground Sessions uses to teach, and starting as an almost complete beginner I have progressed faster than I expected. I look forward to the advanced level and the knowledge and ability I will gain moving steadily forwards.

  • Play with Progress Visualizations

An easy-to-read chart shows you how much time you have spent, how you are progressing, the level you have reached and where you are improving over time.

  • Interactive feedback

If the right note is played at the right time, it turns green; play it wrong, it turns red; play it with the wrong rhythm, it turns pink.

If you need to focus on a particular part then you simply select which part of the section you need to practice and then you can loop it over and over until you get it right.

Play the piece of music to the end and you receive a score. Aiming for 100% before moving forwards has helped me be ready for the next step. This feature of being given a playing score also helps to improve motivation. This works a bit like a game with yourself and others. If you choose, you are able to broadcast your scores.

What you need

  • A Windows PC/laptop or an Apple computer/laptop or an IPad..
  • A digital piano or a portable keyboard or a midi controller.
  • The correct connection to hook up your computer, laptop or Ipad to your piano. An A-to-B USB cable or a MIDI-to-USB cable.
  • An internet connection.

Reasons for Playground

Sessions

  • The music chosen by Playground is familiar. Many genres of music from classical to popular are chosen. You will know the rhythm required to play them and they will then be easier to play.
  • You are able to go to the song store and find a song at the correct level for you to play. For the monthly subscription fee 5 songs may be chosen at no extra charge. These may all be printed or learned from the app.
  • In the Playground Progress tab of from the main Playground Sessions dashboard you can see a line graph showing the progress you are making against time spent learning and also the level you have reached. This Progress tab also includes badges awarded for the time spent practicing, stars for songs that have been learnt and badges for accuracy.
  • Backing tracks accompany the music that you are playing. This makes it easier to learn your part since the rhythm is set and gives tremendous satisfaction when completed successfully.
  • The software that is used keeps playing in time to perfection. This can be a little frustrating but with practice better rhythm is achieved which is worth striving for.
  • The scores given at the end of play make the learning process seem like a game and this keeps you motivated to improve.

Reasons Against Playground Sessions

  • Whilst there are lessons with David Sides and Harry Connick, Jr these a few and far between. That doesn’t concern me but if you are familiar in having an in-person piano teacher this is understandable. I should also state that there are no in-person lessons with Quincy Jones which is a little disappointing but he is not a young man.
  • Playground may not be the perfect course for very young children. They may need more personal tuition.
  • It takes time in bootcamp to reach a theory lesson and some may feel that even then the theory learnt in bootcamp is not adequate. I look forward to learning more theory in the courses when I have completed bootcamp.
  • Playground is limited to working completely with a digital piano or keyboard or midi controllers and cannot work properly with an acoustic piano.
  • The software teaches you to play in perfect time. It is sometimes almost too accurate and this can lead to playing without any emotion.
  • At present the bootcamp lessons cannot be printed.

The Result

As the name suggests Playground Sessions is meant to be fun. That said, you can learn a huge amount from subscribing to this Application.

Being fourty nine rather than four or even fourteen I know that I want to learn and don’t need anyone to tell me. In fact this is a benefit for me. I want to learn at my own speed. If that means playing every day or on a day off from work that is my choice and for this reason I love the app.

I may not learn all that I would learn from a piano teacher but I am learning what I want to learn now. If I choose to learn more in the future I know that I will have learnt the fundamentals of music and have a reasonable playing ability before making that choice.

I am enjoying playing and learning with Playground Session and this is critical.

45 thoughts on “Playground Sessions Review – What And How You Will Learn”

  1. Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here.One main reason I prefer Playground sessions is because it’s a lot more affordable than many of the best online piano lessons, and a membership unlocks access to as much material as you can manage. Thanks for sharing this with me, its helpful.

    Reply
  2. What a great review, I wasn’t too sure about following an online class for piano as it can be thought of as difficult for some than one to one teaching. I myself am intermediate so I kind of know the basics and I am confident that Playground Sessions will give people like myself the jist of reading music once more, and therefore give us confidence to take up this beautiful hobby once again.

    Thank you so much for sharing, I and thousands more will benefit from this incredible program. I used to love playing Fur Elise, I cannot wait to get going again!!

    Reply
  3. This is really nice I have always what to play the piano and I think this is my opportunity to do so…I haven’t heard about playground session so I am a little bit confused about it but nevertheless I would check it out, hope it works for me a total novice

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  4. Thanks for sharing this information, I will be following and subscribing to learn play the piano in playground setting. With the software I can learn to play different music that I grew up listening to, especially the Pop and Classic Hits. Also, like the feature that will give you a score rating to help you improve and play the piano better.

    Reply
  5. Hi Mike,

    This was a great review. It sounds like you’re committed to learning piano and won’t give up easily. And as someone who’s had to suffer through years of piano lessons when I was younger, I can deeply appreciate what it takes to become proficient.

    Playground Sessions sounds very cool to me mostly because of its interactive interface. You’ll find many articles and video online on how to play piano, but there’s not much reason to follow through with what you’ve learned because there’s nothing driving you forward.

    One of the cons you mentioned was that the software teaches you to play in perfect time like a metronome and thus you lose a lot of emotion. I would say that playing in perfect time is crucial to learning the song and emotion should be added after you get the technicalities down. But I can see how that would be annoying.

    And if I may say one last thing, what has really advanced my piano-playing skill recently has been learning ragtime music. It may sound strange, but teaching your left hand to jump an octave four times a measure makes you feel like you can do anything.

    Anyways, great article. I found it really interesting and I’ll keep Playground Sessions in mind in case I find anybody who wants to learn piano.

    Isaac

    Reply
  6. Wow, I had no idea such tools even exist. To me, it seems like the perfect learning tool. Well, almost.

    I find it kind of odd that there is no option to print the Bootcamp lessons. I also imagine many people would not appreciate the fact that acoustic pianos are kind of useless with the program. I mean, I for one have an acoustic one at home because my wife plays but if I were to learn with this one, I would have to get a different keyboard. Which is not ideal.

    Still, generally speaking, I really liked the tool. Love the idea of learning with David Sides. The interactive feedback also truly caught my eye. Like you, I’ve quite familiar with guitar but have always kind of struggled with rhythm. I imagine this would be such an awesome tool to finally solidify the skill.

    Be that as it may, I appreciate the insight. Cheers.

    Reply
  7. Playground sounds fantastic! I’ve wanted to get back into playing the piano for years now. I was never very good to begin with, but I feel like I could improve a lot with Playground Sessions. My main issue before was that if I didn’t know the rhythm I’d  have trouble playing and I struggled to coordinate my left and right hands. I also never had an instructor before. Actually, I’m not sure if anyone ever even heard me play. Oh well, I’d love to get back into it. People always tell me I have great piano hands (long, skinny fingers that are very flexible). A learning process that seems like a game will definitely keep me coming back for more. Thanks for the great review!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the great comment. Yep I’m struggling a little with working both hands together but being able to slow the learning process down and loop sections to practice certainly helps. 

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  8. I use to play piano for 8 years when I was younger and absolutely loved it.  It’s definitely a passion of mine.  I have never heard of ‘Playground Sessions’ until coming across your post (and I’m so glad I did)!  I’ve been looking into playing again since I’m rusty.  I will definitely be checking out their sessions which seem interactive and simple to follow along.  Plus, their pricing is very reasonable.  Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Thank you for your review on Playground Sessions! I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment and I want to make piano as my new hobby. That is great that they offer boot camp courses. What I need to use is simple enough that I can just get them online. I mean just like anything, if you want to be good at it you have to keep on practicing and piano is one of them. I do not think that I will need an instructor to teach me to play piano. I used to go to class but ended up did not get time to practice that is why I am rusty. It is all about you spending time with playing the piano and you will enjoy the result, that is my opinion though. I like what I see, going to give playground a try. 

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  10. Mike,

    This was such an informative and helpful article for me.
    Thank you!

    Our house has a piano and 2 keyboards, which are all stored away.
    Our children began to take private lessons, but their Tutor passed away.
    After that, we dabbled with online programs and that became quite costly.

    After coming across your article and checking out Playground Sessions, I think we have found a very affordable and effective solution.
    We are a music family and having all of us involved in learning to play the piano is on our Bucket List.

    Again, thank you for your review.
    We will definitely follow through!

    Cassandra

    Reply
  11. Mike,

    This was such an informative and helpful article for me.

    Thank you!

    Our house has a piano and 2 keyboards, which are all stored away. Our children began to take private lessons, but their Tutor passed away. After that, we dabbled with online programs and that became quite costly.

    After coming across your article and checking out Playground Sessions, I think we have found a very affordable and effective solution. We are a music family and having all of us involved in learning to play the piano is on our Bucket List.

    Again, thank you for your review.

    We will definitely follow through!

    Cassandra

    Reply
  12. I found your article about learning to play the piano very interesting. I especially have kept wanting to learn how to play the piano but did not want the expense of a piano before finding out if I would like it and then stick to it. What I like is that you can learn and then chose some other songs that might be familiar with you. I suppose I have had an increased urge to learn new skills with Covid-19 so this was such as good read for me. I would be interested to find out to what level does playground sessions go up too?

    Thank you so much for this.

    Reply
    • The course is divided into rookie, intermediate and advanced level. Structured in such a way as to build confidence and overall playing ability to a high standard.

      The courses are divided into keyboard skills, notation, rythm and playing by ear.

      Reply
  13. I enjoyed reading your review of playground especially since I am a performing keyboard player in a band, and I also teach adults and kids to play the piano. There are so many people who want to be able to play. A lot of them started out as kids but got turned off by the long exercises and the playing of strange melodies which they could not use after a while. I looked over this program and I see why it can be so successful. The notes changing colour eases up on the frustration students feel when they don’t know what mistake they made. Secondly, it is most important to play songs you know and like, in order to keep motivated.. Thirdly, this would work well for someone who has had an earlier introduction to piano. Very good product. Very good review.

    Reply
  14. Hi Mike

    A very interesting review of Playground Session and I can see the appeal of  using it. It is important to learn at your own pace and it is important that the programme reflect this, as some can learn the piano quickly, whilst others take a long time. I think sometime or other, people have thought of playing a musical instrument, with piano playing coming on top. I really like the review but I also think they are relying on famous people to sell the program, which may not offer always value for money. Often programme concentrate on the keys but not the pedals, so is this covered in this program?

    Thanks 

    Antonio

    Reply
  15. Playground Sessions sounds like a great way to learn to play the piano.  It also has many features to make the online or prerecorded lesson more enjoyable.  Many of us had the opportunity to learn some basics as children, but didn’t keep it up or if like me, wouldn’t practice.  I wanted to play the piano, just not practice!  So for those looking for hobbies nowadays with our staying at home extending beyond a few days, this seems a great time to start playing.  TV surely isn’t that interesting.  

    Having a rhythm to help start playing correctly should help, as would breaking the music down into different steps to learn.  I can remember the intimidation of a new piece of sheet music that was 6 or 8 sheets long.  With my lack of buying into the necessity of  practice, the gift my parents were trying to give me never appeared.  Another of those “get old quick, smart very late” situations.  However, there may be hope for me yet with a sturdy at home plan.

    Reply
  16. Hi Mike.

    Thanks for this great review of Playground Sessions. I never knew that there would be something like an online piano class.

    Your review post has helped me a lot, as I was looking for something similar for my son. I would definitely like to check this out myself before I recommend it to my son. 

    And who knows, it might be that I fall in love with playing the Piano!

    Thanks

    Reply
  17. wow! what a great piece.So naturally, with the advent of online piano tutorials and using them to learn the piano online, there come many questions regarding the use of these applications in order to maximize learning with what most users hope is minimum effort versus learning the traditional way from a piano teacher in person from a songbook. So it begs the question, what are the pros and cons of learning the piano online using Play ground session? Thanks

    Reply
  18. Thank you very much for sharing your story. I also have a similar one. I have wanted to learn piano all my life. I know how to play majors and minors in the guitar but frankly, nothing else. I don’t know a thing about the piano besides where to find Central C.

    I’m excited about finding Playground Sessions. It has been a lifelong dream.

    Reply
  19. Hi Mike thanks for posting this awesome and very simplified Playground Sessions Review. Piano playing is one thing I love doing at my leisure time. Learning how to play the Piano with Playground session is an awesome experience. The Bootcamp, the Courses and the Songs Store make the entire learning process to be exciting.  

    From your review I will want Children to learn how to also play the Piano with Playground Session. Is there any age restriction please? 

    Reply
  20. This takes me back to my childhood and learning to play the piano. I was first enrolled in piano lessons when I was about five years old. I continued to play and learn and do exams until i was sixteen years old. Then, because of subject choices at school, I dropped music. My mother then got rid of all my sheet music, without telling me. 

    Playground Sessions will be able to take me back and pick up an old skill. What a great post to find.

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  21. Play the correct notes = green. Play the incorrect notes = red. This I like! I’m a very visual, technical, orderly learner. We gave our piano away years ago once our daughter graduated and was on her way. I regret this decision because now that I have time on my hands, I would love to learn how to play the piano. You specify what type of keyboard, etc to purchase, I shall look into this purchase. I like this program, I can go at my own pace and be leisure or semi serious. Your article is very detailed, much appreciated. I’m going to read it again and see what I am able to do. I will be sure to click via the links in your article. Wish me luck! Thank you. 

    Reply
  22. What a great relief, I really want to learn piano, but getting affordable instructor is what keeping me. With playground sessions affordable prices,I think I will start asap.  Do they offer other sessions, apart from piano? What kind of piano is more compatible, because I want the best. And do they offer one on one session with your instructor. 

    Good luck on your training. 

    Reply
    • They only give piano lessons. If you visit the site then you can purchase a suitable keyboard there. They offer many instruction videos, some have David Sales teaching and playing.

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  23. I began learning to play the piano at about age 7. Unfortunatley it was cut short as my tutor moved away. Since then I have twice attempted to resumed but never had enough time to dedicate to it. This program seems to be able to provide that needed time as I take it that I can work at my own pace. I like the idea too of knowing immediately that I have made an error and the set rythm.

    Reply

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